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Academics, professionals and policy makers formed Foundation Years Information and Research to promote the vital importance of the earliest years to children’s development and well-being.

The group advances public education and understanding of the substantial body of scientific work on the extent to which the earliest relationships play a major role in shaping a baby’s brain and in influencing their future mental and physical health.
Foundation Years Information and Research promotes research and study and makes available the useful results to engage decision makers, those working in front-line services and the general public.

The evidence:

  • Shows that the implications of our knowledge of the plasticity of the baby's brain require society to shift its perceptions and resource priorities.

  • Justifies a national commitment to strengthening a universal community of care and support for every infant and their immediate caregivers

  • Demonstrates that such a commitment would pay for itself many times over in terms of the quality of life of children, young people and adults, the reduction of mental illness and crime and the resilience, well-being and freedom of society as a whole.

The Co-Chairs of FYIR are Karen Buck MP
and Catherine West MP

Frank Field, CH, Baron Field of Birkenhead

Frank Field, who died on 23rd April, 2024, was a politician and a social reformer respected as much by members of both Houses of Parliament as by professionals in social care, health and education. 

His life was dedicated to concern for the poor, characteristically evidenced by his 2010 report The Foundation Years: preventing poor children becoming poor adults. It was therefore completely appropriate that he should be the first Chair of Foundation Years Information & Research, a role that he performed with skill and enthusiasm. He brought to FYIR’s planning and development a wide knowledge of the subject and a remarkable ability to identify the relevant parts of a technical paper.  He acted as a crucial link between politicians and professionals of all disciplines. He was also fun to be with and will be sorely missed. 

Latest news

18th June 2024 Zoom 1700hrs UK time

Assessing the success of Germany’s early years provision

Dr Nadine Wieduwilt is Director of Quality Assurance for provision for children in the Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend in Berlin

Contact Nick Peacey, FYIR's Secretary, at fyiroffice@gmail.com, if you would like to join this event. (Note our new email address).

To catch up with earlier fascinating presentations from New Thinking, New Government:

14.5.24 Christine Farquharson, Associate Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies, Professor Eva Lloyd, OBE, Emeritus Professor of Early Childhood, University of East London. Much movement of resources, but are they going to the right place? Equity, environment and the distribution of the national cake for the under 3s. (Video will be available soon).

7.5.24 Professor Karen Luyt, National Child Mortality Database; Dr Camilla Kingdon, RCPCH, with Dr Sunil Bhopal, Research Director Designate of the ‘Born in Bradford’ longitudinal study. The UK is 30th of 49 rich nations in ranking for infant mortality. What's going on? What can be done about it?

To catch up with earlier fascinating presentations from New Thinking, New Government:

25.3.24 Felicity Gillespie, Chief Executive, Kindred Squared

It’s about time young people learned some brain science

Michelle Morris, MBE, Pathway Lead, Greater Manchester Early Years Language and Communication (L&C) Policy 

Current concerns about L&C for the 0-3s

Learning from the practice of the GM Early Years language & communication pathway

Dr Sarah White, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

Autism in the Early Years

Alison Morton, Chief Executive, Institute of Health Visiting

Progressive universalism now and hopes for the future

…and if you have not yet seen Tarja Kahiluoto explain Finland’s celebrated ECEC provision

Preoccupations, contradictions, opportunities in early child development: a budget briefing March 2023

This FYIR briefing provided up-to-date evidence as context for the Chancellor's decisions about 0-3 years in the 2023 budget. 

FYIR Budget Briefing 2023

The IFS Deaton Review on Inequality
12th December 2022 

Sarah Cattan and Christine Farquharson of IFS gave us fascinating accounts of the Deaton Review's conclusions about inequality and funding in the early years, and of recent research on the policy environment which provides the context in which this inequality is sited. Helen Hayes MP, Shadow Minister (Education) responded to the discussion. 

Watch Video

5pm-6.30pm, Monday 14th March 2022.

Reforming the Early Learning Care and School-Age Childcare System in Ireland: Recent Policy Development, Early Implementation

  • Professor Eva Lloyd, University of East London, Hazel O’Byrne, Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) (Ireland) & Toby Wolfe, (DCEDIY) (Ireland)

Watch Video

On Monday, 13th December, 2021 we were delighted to welcome:

Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant then Screwed, who updated us on their powerful campaign on child care and discrimination against mothers.

Watch Video | Read Transcript

Aurélia Rabe & Marion Charpentier of Ensemble pour l'education de la petite enfance (EduEnsemble), explained the EU initiative First Years, First Priority,(EduEnsemble is French National Co-ordinator), and the Family-Friendly Company badge scheme to improve employer approaches to the first 1000 days of life.  

 Watch Video | Read Transcript

On Monday, 10th January, 2022, we welcomed:

Nikki Humphrey, Director, People, John Lewis Partnership describe the company's new equal parental leave policy, recognised as the first commitment by a major UK retailer to address equality in this area.

Watch Video | Read Transcript

We were delighted to welcome the Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the Government’s ongoing Early Healthy Development Review, and Professor Susan Golombok, University of Cambridge, to speak to a FYIR Zoom meeting on Monday, 16th November 2020.

Les Premiers 1000 Jours report published

The French national commission on the first 1000 days of life in which our colleagues, Nathalie Casso-Vicarini and Aurelia Rabe of the Ensemble pour L’Education de Petite Enfance (Eduensemble),played leading roles can be read at https://solidarites-sante.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/rapport-1000-premiers-jours.pdf

Educating Society about the Early Years
20th April 2021

We were delighted to welcome Aida Cable, Chief Advisor to the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Felicity Gillespie of Kindred Squared to our Zoom event on 20th April.

  • Aida gave us an insight into the Foundation's far-reaching objectives following their Big Survey on attitudes to early years.
  • Felicity explained Kindred Squared's drive to teach all students about the science of the first 1000 days by commissioning of an Oxford University team to develop a secondary curriculum resource.

Both talks are now available on our YouTube channel
Watch Video

Evidence to the Public Services Committee

You can read our evidence to the Public Services Committee's call for evidence on 'The role of public services in addressing child vulnerability' here:
Evidence-to-publicservices-committee.pdf